The winning days of Athletic Bilbao in Copa Del Rey, including thumping Barcelona seems to be quite in contrast to their form in La Liga where they are still stuck in the mid table and have been winless in the last eight matches. This unbalanced form shall not go on for too long as it might affect their mentality. Thus, snatching three-point is absolutely vital as they only take on Osasuna, which is only two points away from them.
Bilbao might have been the inferior side in the Basque derby against Real Sociedad last weekend as they were thumped 1-2 by Portus and Alexander Isak’s goal which put Inaki Williams’ equaliser in vain. Yet, in the midweek fixture of Copa Del Rey semifinal, they won over Granada by a single goal of Iker Muniain who tucked in the ball after taking the advantage of Inaki Williams’s short pass.
On the other hand, Osasuna were hapless in their last outing against Real Madrid. They were hammered 1-4 at their home turf despite taking the lead earlier in the first half by Unai Garcias header. However, Los Blancos then bombarded them with four goals from Isco, Sergio Ramos, Lucas Vasquez and Luka Jovic.
Missing players and probable lineups
Gaizka Garitano tends to opt for two kinds of formation, 4-2-3-1 for the offensive football and 5-3-2 for the pragmatic defensive one. The latter seems to be working well against the big teams as it could potentially frustrate their contender. Yet, when it comes to the former one, Garitano’s tough homework is to improve his mens finishing to create more effective attack. For this fixture, there are two names missing out the game, Oscat de Marcos and Unai Lopez due to their injury, plus the other two, Iker Muniain and Dani Garcia for their suspension.
Bilbao: Unai Simon; Andre Capa, Yuri, Unai Nunez, Yeray Alvarez; Mikel San Jose, Mikel Vesga; Raul Garcia, Inigo Lukue, Inaki Williams; Asier Villalibre.
Meanwhile, the former Real Sociedads boss, Jagoba Arrasette is in favour of 4-2-3-1 with the transition to 4-4-2. He counts on Chimy Avila and Ruben Garcia as the main scorers. Unfortunately, the former one will be sidelined along with Jon Moncayola.
Osasuna: Sergio Herrera; Nacho Vidal, Pervis Estupinan, Aridane Hernandez, Unai Garcia; Roberto Torres, Darko Brasanac ; Fran Merida, Adrian Lopez, Ruben Garcia; Marc Cardona
The home side is slightly more dominant in the head-to-head encounter. They have won three times and lost twice in their last six meetings. What's worse, Nacho Vidal and Co have failed to win nine times in the last ten away games.
This outing should be the best opportunity for the host to secure three points. Their form in the previous match can be boosting their confidence, not to mention the series of defeat on the visitors side. The only issue which might come up is their physical fitness. A narrow win should be on Iker Muniain and Co's hand.
Where to watch
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